Not Your Grandma's Cloth Diapers
When you think cloth diapers an image of a white cloth draped around a baby’s bum fastened with little safety pins probably comes to mind. Dude its 2015 and the cloth diapers have certainly come a very long way! I began using cloth when harper was 2 months old. A friend lent me about 6 of them to try and so I took them home and put them in Harpers room. They sat on her shelf for 2 full days; I would just stare at them sitting there completely intimidated. I messaged the same friend who lent them to me and needed a verbal walk through, she said, “just put them on” so I did. Okay, okay so all the build up to starting gave me a panic attack but once they were on they never came off. Then she peed and pooped in them so I had to figure out how to wash them, literally I was forced to learn because I couldn’t give my friend back her diapers with my kids business in them. I went to the web and learned all about detergents and how to wash them. I became an expert in diaper jargon, which I proudly added to my vocabulary. Once I got the hang of it we never turned back and it became second nature.
My husband and I both appreciated not having to purchase disposables for many reasons. Disposable diapers contain nasty chemicals that are used to mask smell, absorb urine, and keep the mess from soaking through to your child’s clothing. Even the most natural of diapers contain some level of chemical in order to achieve these purposes. Disposable diapers are also a huge source of waste; I hate to admit this wasn’t the first on my list for why I use cloth diapers, but it was definitely a plus and an important part of being responsible. Another reason why I chose cloth was the adorable prints and how big and squishy it made my kids butts look.
This article explains a bit about the chemicals and what is actually in disposable diapers.
So how do you begin? Buy a few different diapers and try them onto your baby. I suggest getting a few different brands for a few different reasons. Every baby has a different shape; some diapers will fit your child better than others. This will help prevent leaks and fit issues. Some diapers are better for nighttime use and will be more absorbent for longer periods between the changes. Some are Velcro and some are snap closure. I’ve purchased diapers from Bambino Mio, Buy Buy Baby, and Nickis Diapers. Bambino Mio is new to the United States and I can tell they will do wonderfully in the cloth diaper market here (review of these diapers at the bottom). Nicki’s Diapers has many different brands and types (ill go over those) so you can order a few different kinds in one shipment.
AOI or All In One: This means that the diaper is ready to put on. It has the soaker (absorbent pad) already sewn or attached otherwise. All you have to do is open it up and put it on your baby!
Pocket Diaper: Pocket diapers are cool because you can add absorbency to these but just placing a second or thicker soaker into the pocket of the diaper. These are good for nighttime, and bigger (more pee) babies.
Hybrid: This means that the soaker may already be sewn in, but there is also a pocket. This allows you to be able to add absorbency to the diaper or you can use it as is. Generally a soaker will be sewn in to the diaper as well.
Cover: It is what it sounds like; a cover. It is generally made of wool or PUL (polyurethane laminate). PUL is a waterproof material affixed to the inside of the cover. You would use this over a prefold, those are what looks like grandmas diapers. They’re usually made out of cotton and can be folded many different ways to absorb in the places needed. Wool, when lanolized (treated with lanolin), has excellent absorptive properties; it actually can soak up a ton of liquid, and it also pushes it back into the prefold or fitted.
Prefold: Grandmas diaper :) It’s basically a cotton pad that you can fold around your child. You will need a cover for this.
Fitted: It’s basically like a new age prefold, the entire thing is absorbent, but instead of diaper pins, it closes with Velcro or snaps on its own. You will need a cover for this too.
One Size: This term refers to the fact that you can use this diaper from 8-35lbs (generally). These diapers have snaps that you can adjust in order to fit smaller babies and then as your child grows you open the snaps to the next level to allow for more room.
I preferred to use pocket diapers, all in ones, or hybrids during the day and a fitted with a cover at night. Our favorite fitted diaper was Thirsties brand, and for covers Bambino Mio. We’ve used Bumgenius, Rumparooz, some handmade fitteds, and Bambino Mio. I really love the Bambino Mio Mio-Solo diaper. It is what I would consider a hybrid because it has a pocket, yet it also has a sewn in soaker. One thing I didn’t like about certain AIO diapers is that the soaker is sewn all the way in and you cannot remove it to get it nice and clean. The Mio Solo diaper has the soaker sewn in half way, this way you can pull it out and it will get nice and clean, but it always has its appropriate soaker sewn in. You can also add absorbency if needed which is a great option to have. The diaper itself is extremely well made; it feels sturdy and after a few washes already it still looks brand new. I am sold! Now wonder why Bambino Mio is the UK’s number one cloth diaper. I suggest having 14-20 diapers for full time diapering.
You will need a few accessories to get started. A wetbag is like a laundry bag lined with PUL that you will be throwing the diapers into before they go in the washing machine. Youll keep this next to your baby's changing table. You dont need cloth wipes but I definitely suggest getting some or making them. You can make your own by cutting up old receiving blankets or towels if you want. The reason I suggest getting these is because when I change my kids diapers I usually leave the wipes inside the diaper and fold it up. I do this when changing both a disposable diaper and a cloth diaper. If you use disposable wipes with a cloth diaper, you will have to fish out the wipes when its time to wash, or keep a regular diaper pail in your house for dirty wipes that need to be thrown away. I like just putting everything in together and therefore found that cloth wipes were much easier to use with cloth diapers. I made my own wipe wash by putting some of my kids shampoo/body wash (shea moisture baby; the redbush one) in a little spray bottle with a ton of water. I would spray them down and wipe clean with a dry wipe. I know people who use a wipe warmer with just water and their cloth wipes. That didnt work for me as I always ended up smelling mold in the wipe warmer. Youll also need a small wetbag to hold about 4-5 diapers; you'll take this with you when you leave the house. Throw everything in it and just bring it home to wash.
When can you start cloth diapering? From birth! After Gunnar and Jagger were born, we snuggled naked for a bit and then we put them in their first cloth diaper. I like the Rumparooz newborn diapers. If your baby is smaller than 8lbs, or you want a trimmer fit, I suggest buying a few newborn diapers. These are good from 6-10lbs approximately. There is a huge second hand market for cloth diapers. This is also a great way to buy your first diapers if you aren’t sure you’ll want to do this. There are many second hand cloth diaper buy sell groups on Facebook that you can join. I have bought and sold my fair share of diapers here. Is it safe/clean to use second hand diapers? My answer is yes. As long as you ask all of the necessary information and get tons of pictures you’ll be fine. When I get new diapers I strip them right away and then do a regular deep wash (I’ll go into that below). Some people are scammers, just like the ones who buy and sell clothing on Instagram, so be careful and protect yourself with pictures and detailed information.
How do you wash them? Many of the diaper brands will give you some detailed information on what detergents to use. I personally wash my diapers in Rockin Green. I feel it cleans my diapers the best while still free of all those nasty chemicals. If your baby is strictly breastfed, there is no need to rinse in the toilet or sink. If you use formula or your baby is starting solids you’ll definitely want to dump the poop into the toilet before you throw it in the washing machine. Throw all of your diapers into the washing machine and be sure to take out all inserts, they generally will work their way out during washing but I prefer to make sure they’re out during the whole wash cycle. Turn it on a double cold rinse and let it do its thing. Next add one scoop of Rockin Green detergent and put your washer on a very hot wash with an extra rinse. Once that is completed I usually do another hot rinse to make sure all of the detergent is out. Remember, this is going on your kids genitals so you want to make sure all excess detergent is out. I then throw the inserts in the dryer and hang the pockets and all in ones. Drying them in the dryer is fine once in a while; its even good to do here and there because heat kills the yuckies and will reseal PUL, but it can also do a number on your diapers. In the summer I hang my diapers outside in the sun. The sun is known to sanitize diapers, whiten them, and even kill yeast. For good measure I will throw in a cup of ACV once in a while to freshen my diapers and prevent any yeast issues.
Harper ended up having super sensitive skin and major diaper rashes from her allergies. We needed to put her in disposables from about 16 months on in order to treat her rash more aggressively and heal her skin from damage. Gunnar was cloth diapered from day 1 until about 14/15 months. I was sick during my pregnancy and super lazy and didn’t want the extra laundry to do. I cloth diaper him and Jagger now part time and will soon be back to full time. I have recently gotten all of my energy back (I even hit the treadmill at night! Go me!) and I can handle the extra load of laundry. I am looking forward to saving the money we spend on diapers and instead buying new clothes of course.
Cloth diapering your baby doesn’t have to be scary; I mean clearly I am a sissy because I had a stare down with them for a few days before I tried them on my daughter. I assure you once you try it you’ll be hooked! Its simple, eco friendly, and better for your babe’s tush.
**** At the bottom of this post is a 15% off code from Bamino mio****
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